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Lettuce

This article is part of a larger article titled "100+ Healthiest Foods On Planet Earth."  Read it here.

Lettuce Nutritional Information (per 100g)

Water: 95 g
Calories: 15 kcal
Protein: 1.4 g
Carbohydrate: 2.9 g
Dietary fiber: 1.3 g
Sugars: 0.8 g
Fat: 0.2 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 0.1 g
Vitamin C: 9.2 mg
Vitamin B1: 0.1 mg
Vitamin B2: 0.1 mg
Vitamin B3: 0.4 mg
Vitamin B6: 0.1 mg
Vitamin B9: 38 μg
Vitamin A: 370 μg
Vitamin E: 0.2 mg
Vitamin K: 126.3 μg
Calcium: 36 mg
Iron: 0.9 mg
Magnesium: 13 mg
Phosphorus: 29 mg
Potassium: 194 mg
Sodium: 28 mg
Zinc: 0.2 mg

The perennial salad vegetable, lettuce, is a fantastic food for weight loss, eye health and the cardiovascular system. Lettuce, a member of the daisy family, is most often found in salads, but can also be used for soups, sandwiches, stir fries and wraps.

In terms of health benefits, it is a low calorie and nutritious food, with compounds that lower your risk of cancers and cardiovascular disease.

Nutritionally, lettuce is a bit of a two-trick pony. To begin with, as you might expect, it’s very low calorie: 100g of Romaine lettuce contains just 17 calories. But the real surprise (one pretty exclusive to this variety), is that just 100g of Romaine lettuce contains a staggering 174% of your daily value (DV) of vitamin A equivalent (the actual substance is beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in the body), in addition to 8% DV of fibre and 7% DV of potassium.

Lettuce does however, have health benefits beyond its nutritional content. The first one is, rather unsurprisingly, weight loss. As a low calorie vegetable, it is possible to eat large quantities of it with negligible calorie intake, and the high dietary fibre content will help increase the feeling of satiety (fullness). It will also help with digestion, as will the very high percentage of water weight.

Secondly, the high levels of beta-carotene in Romaine lettuce may lower your risk of getting certain cancers, specifically prostate cancer and colon cancer. Beta-carotene is also important because it breaks down into Vitamin A, which is essential for eye health.

Finally, lettuce also has a high concentration of a flavonoid called quercetin, which has been shown to lower blood pressure, in addition to reducing platelet aggregation, a major contributing factor to atherosclerosis. Both high blood pressure and atherosclerosis are great risk factors for cardiovascular disease, and should be taken seriously.

Quercetin may have some athletic performance benefits, further proving that eating it will provide some benefit for your heart.